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Jun 16, 2011 01:35 PM

looking for great mexican or peruvian food

I'll be in Chicago for three days in mid-July and would like to eat at some great Mexican or Peruvian restaurants while i'm there.

I'd hoped to go to Topolobampo -- but I'm there Sunday a.m.-Tuesday a.m., and the restaurant is closed at those times! Also, I had LOOOOOVED a place called Chilpancingo -- but I understand they're closed.

Any recommendations for me? THanks!

445 N Clark St., Chicago, IL 60610

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  1. Also, I should've mentioned: I'll be staying at the Downtown Marriott, and I won't have a car. But I will have access to cabs and public transportation!

    Thanks again -

    1. I'm going to assume you mean the Marriott on North Michigan Avenue. If you mean the new JW Marriott on West Adams, let me know; I'd still recommend the same places, but the directions and distances will be different.

      Mexican food is a great choice. Our creative provincial Mexican restaurants offer creative cuisine that is not easily found in most cities this side of the border with Mexico, and is a great culinary asset of our city. With the exception of the Rick Bayless places (Topolobampo, Frontera Grill, XOCO), most of our best such places are open on Sundays for brunch and dinner, but are closed on Mondays. These include the following:

      1. Mexique offers provincial Mexican fare with a French influence, in a lively bistro atmosphere. It's in the West Town neighborhood. From the Marriott, you can walk north to Chicago Avenue and catch the #66 CTA bus westbound on Chicago.

      2. Mundial Cocina Mestiza has creative Mexican cuisine and is my favorite Mexican restaurant in the city. It's in the Pilsen neighborhood on the near southwest side. From the Marriott, walk to State and Lake and catch the CTA Pink Line elevated train, and take it to the 18th Street Station. The restaurant is half a block east of the station.

      3. If you happen to be up on the North Side, Mixteco Grill is also excellent. It's a few blocks east of the Montrose station on the CTA Brown Line.

      4. Salpicon is the closest to the Marriott, just over a mile north, in Old Town. It's quite good, although maybe not quite as good as the previous three choices. In addition to their Sunday hours, they are also open Mondays.

      All four of these accept reservations over the phone; Mexique and Salpicon also do so via

      Chilpancingo (which I enjoyed) was a restaurant owned/run by Geno Bahena. His latest restaurant is called Los Moles and it's open seven days a week, dinner only. I've heard mixed reviews.

      All of our Peruvian restaurants are some distance from downtown; for recommendations, see

      Mundial Cocina Mestiza
      1640 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608

      Mixteco Grill
      1601 W Montrose Ave, Chicago, IL 60613

      1529 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

      2 Replies
      1. re: nsxtasy

        These sound fantastic. Many thanks!

        1. re: nsxtasy

          Recently went to Mercardito and liked it very much.
          Fun drinks, good food.

        2. I'd probably try and sneak in a visit to the Maxwell St. Market on Sunday afternoon.

          1 Reply
          1. re: moose734

            Had never heard of this -- but it sounds fantastic! Thanks for the great idea!

          2. Hi, Everyone -

            Wanted to thank you all for your great suggestions and loop back to let you know what I tried.

            Had brunch Sunday at Mundia Cocina Mestiza, and it was FANTASTIC! Had the garncha trio -- three masa cakes with different fillings and a kind of smoky salsa -- delicious. The masa was light, and the salsa was just perfect. Then had eggs on a kind of sweet masa roll. Again, the masa was light (I guess I'm used to heavier masa) -- and the eggs reminded me of breakfast in Mexico.

            I was the only one in the restaurant at 11 a.m. on a Sunday (maybe it gets busier later in the day?), and the server paid wonderful attention -- made me feel special. I'll DEFINITELY go back here next time I'm in Chicago.

            Also, I loved the interesting neighborhood (wandered over to a giant yard sale at a nearby church before the restaurant opened). And really, the art in the Pilsen CTA station alone was worth the trip from downtown!

            Had lunch Monday at Blackbird (not part of my original plan, I know), and really enjoyed it. Light, summery, whimsical without being over the top. Had the prix fix lunch, and thought it was very good: a salad of baby greens with a simple dressing, a chicken entree, and a cheeky chocolate dessert -- crumbled chocolate cake-y thing with an incredible raspberry sorbet.

            The real discovery, though, was Mundial Cocina Mestiza! Thanks for a GREAT recommendation! I've been to a lot of great Mexican restaurants -- and I'm really glad to have had a chance to experience this one!

            Mundial Cocina Mestiza
            1640 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608